From Submission to Rebellion: The Provinces Versus the Center in Russia

By Vladimir Shlapentokh; Roman Levita et al. | Go to book overview

2
THE MAJOR THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE: REGIONALISM AS PAST AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD DEVELOPMENT

We approach CP relations from a dynamic perspective, supposing that these relationships tend to be conflicting, even in certain historical periods when many societies may indeed be relatively stable. Both participants in the CP relationship--the center and the provinces--can be seen as instigators of the destabilization of this relationship. In this book, the main focus is on the activities of the provinces, and for this reason the main concepts here are regionalism and regionalization.


Chief Concepts

By regionalism we are referring to an ideology as well as to a political and economic activity that is geared toward achieving greater regional autonomy, or greater particularization of substate entities.1Separatism refers to the highest degree of regionalism, in which a province tries to gain complete political independence by leaving the greater nation-state. Regionalization stimulated by regionalism as an ideology is a process leading to the growing role of regions, as the country's administrative units, in the life of the given country.

Local, or mini-, nationalism exacerbates regionalism and separatism by providing them with the elements of nationalistic ideology. These beliefs emphasize not only the specific cultural and economic interests of a region but also the radical importance of the region's specific language and long-term cultural traditions.2

At the same time, we consider regionalism to be a special case of particularism. Particularism is the tendency to oppose the specific features of a social entity that favors universalism, which is the dominance of various patterns of material and nonmaterial behavior. Particularism manifests itself in numerous forms--from

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